Again this morning, on our walk through Mount Pleasant Cemetery, I was taken by the brilliant colours we’ve had this fall. The gray sky provided a background for the trees and I wondered if I was right that this year’s colours were exceptional. Or is it something I forget from year to year?
I remembered from those long-ago classrooms that the colours of autumn don’t develop because of the weather, but rather, from the shortened days. As less sunlight is available, photosynthesis slows, and the yellows and golds that are masked by green chlorophyll become visible. Or, in the case of maples, sugar is trapped in the leaves and this produces bright reds.
I turned to Mr. Google to see if there was an explanation for especially glorious years. He didn’t appear to know (or my search skills weren’t up to the task of accessing what he knows.) If anybody can tell me, I’d love to hear it.